Her arm tires of holding up her gloved hand. Eventually she drops her arms by her sides and drags her toe over the grass in a doodling format. Someone yells “heads up!” She looks and snags the ball. Parents are overheard saying “That girl should be paying attention”. One parent looks to the mother of the girl and says “Andrew is always saying GIRLS!”
This little girl is the only girl playing in a division of about 40 boys. Understandably, she’s losing interest. After the game her mother asks her “Erin, do you really want to play ball?” The child shrugs her shoulders and says “I dunno.”
Mom has realized why her daughter isn’t interested. “If I tried to get some girls involved, would you still want to play?” Erin looks up, excitement in her eyes, “Oh, yes!”
I am Erin’s Mom. And I am a volunteer with the Corner Brook Baseball Association. Girls have always been welcome to play baseball in this city that has produced some of the best ball players in Newfoundland, Becoming a Prospect. In fact, when Erin played T-ball, there were as many as 10 girls playing with her. But for some reason, girls either leave or don’t ever play baseball. Stolen Bases: Why American Girls Don’t Play Baseball
Erin was the only girl who attended the Blue Jays Academy when they came to Corner Brook in July 2014. There were 200 players.
Then my sister had a yard sale and this changed everything. She made $3000 selling old furniture, tools, and other things she almost brought to the dump. How? Her reply: “Facebook. It’s a magic wand.”
And the wheels started turning.
Social media is one marketing tool used to help a business (or sports club) reach its goals. Combined with traditional formats of advertising, I believed that social media, in particular Facebook, could build it and they will come.
We were creating something new, in fact, we were making history. There has never been a female baseball division or female baseball team in the history of Corner Brook Baseball.
CBC Radio spotted us on Facebook and Twitter @CbbaCB and had Darrin, Erin, and I in for an interview about our goal of attracting a dozen girls to spring baseball with the hopes of 30 girls for our summer program. Our local newspaper was quick to follow.
Within five days of launching our Facebook page we had 100 likes. Six weeks later, we are at 240 likes. Analyzing our Facebook Insights has helped me tweak our page. I’m finding it is parents who use the page, not their kids (our players). Pages with the most likes are those that contain information about tryouts and dates/times of any events – tryouts, schedule, practices, etc. Our #TBT (throw back Thursday) pictures also get a lot of traffic. I’ve found that motivational postings such as Saturday Sportsmanship Moments and Monday Moves are not getting a lot of traffic. Basically, it’s information that parents are looking forward.
Our goal – well, it’s a homerun – we had 70 girls register in our program during the summer of 2015. Proving there is room for boys and girls in the game. Here’s my boy, Colin.